Selling Public Land is Making The Housing Crisis Worse

  • Only 20% of new homes to be built on recently sold public land will be classified as ‘affordable’, according to fresh research

  • At the current rate, the government’s new homes target on sold-off public land will not be met until 2032, 12 years later than promised

  • The public land sell-off should be halted in next week’s Budget. This would free up land for communities themselves to help deliver high-quality, affordable homes

Fresh analysis of recently published government statistics reveal that only one in five of the new homes to be built on public land sold off in the last six months will be classified as ‘affordable’. Even this figure is optimistic as it uses the government’s own widely criticised definition of affordability. As little as 7% of new homes are likely to be social housing, and in some cases developments comprise solely of luxury properties.

Give communities control

By halting the sale of public land, the government could instead empower communities themselves – along with local authorities, small builders and institutional investors like pension funds – to provide more affordable, better quality homes. Community-led and social housebuilding projects with homes to rent and buy not only get the most value out of public land but also give people more control over their surroundings.

Previous NEF research revealed that community-led affordable housebuilding projects on just ten public sites due to be sold off could save £231 million in housing benefit payments over 30 years. These investments could start to make a return for the public purse within 20 years, all while alleviating severe housing need across the country and putting communities in charge of their own housing provision.


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